MEASLES…An Old Disease Rearing Its Ugly Head Again

MEASLES…An Old Disease Rearing Its Ugly Head Again

Dannette Heeth, CEH, IP, NR-Paramedic
Regional Business Development

Some events in life, and the people associated with those events, are always remembered; such as my childhood friend, Karl. One morning when I was three years old, Karl’s mother knocked at our door with him in tow. She raised his shirt up for my mother to see, and I remember how red his stomach looked.  My mother invited them in and told me to go play with Karl so I could get exposed to the measles and get the inevitable childhood disease out of the way before kindergarten. About two weeks later, I had the measles and was I ever sick!

Danny-as-a-childThe author (on the left, already wearing a medical uniform)
and her friend Karl (on the right), both at age 4.

Prior to 1963, almost every child had the measles by the time they were in junior high with most children having measles between the ages of 3-6, and there were between 3-4 million cases each year in the United States. Once the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine was developed, outbreaks of the disease decreased to the point that in 2000, the disease was considered to be eradicated.  The vaccine is considered effective as long as the two doses are given and completed at the scheduled date.

According to USA Today, nearly 95% of U.S. children are fully vaccinated against measles, but vaccination rates vary from a low of 82% in Colorado to 98% in Mississippii.   The disease spreads quickly and can affect 90% of the unvaccinated people around the infected person. The potential of a wide scale outbreak among the unvaccinated is a possible threat.

The earliest recorded measles case dates back to the 9th century and has come to the U.S. from unvaccinated travelers from countries that do not require the MMR vaccination. Measles, a virus called rubeola, not to be confused with “rubella” or German measles, is typically passed by saliva such as via a cough or sneeze. The virus can live up to 2 hours on surfaces, making high hand contact surfaces such as hand rails or door push plates a virtual and effective disease spreader.

While in 2014 only 644 cases were reported by the Centers for Disease Control, epidemiologists and physicians recommend all school-aged children receive the MMR vaccine, as well as any adults not previously vaccinatedii.    Young children, pregnant women and those with comprised immune systems are at the highest risk of infection.

Over 50 years have passed since my friend Karl gave me the measles that made me so sick for several weeks. And what was my claim to fame in his life?  I returned the favor and gave Karl the chicken pox!

i Measles outbreak raises question of vaccine exemptions, USA Today, 8:45 a.m. EST January 23, 2015

ii CDC Features—Measles: Make Sure Your Child Is Protected with MMR Vaccine—CDC-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Also see: Measles (Rubeola)—CDC-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

• Red, flat spots covering the body truck/torso
• Fever exceeding 102°
• Sore throat and white spots (called “Koplik spots”)
• Cough
• Severe fatigue

• Wash hands frequently
• Cover cough and sneezes
• MMR vaccination – two doses on schedule

Dannette Heath CEH, IP, Paramedic, EVS Business Development

Dannette Young Heeth, CEH, IP, Paramedic
Varsity Facility Services/Southwest Division
Regional Business Development

During the late 1970’s, Dannette was working in an Arlington, Texas hospital where the Environmental Services Department was outsourced to a janitorial vendor. She became interested in the training and processes required to keep the hospital properly cleaned. On her breaks, she would hang out in the EVS manager’s office to learn everything she could. Several years later, Dannette started a janitorial service, and with her medical background, began seeing ALL buildings as infectious as hospitals. Later in life she married a Flight/Critical Care Paramedic that inspired her to fulfill her dream of being a paramedic as well. She completed EMT-Basic training in 2008, joined MedicOne ambulance company (formerly MedCare), completed paramedic school and licensure in 2010, began the paramedic/RN bridge program, and eventually wound up as a trauma paramedic in a busy ER on the weekends.

In addition to her weekend work as a paramedic, she is involved in business development during the week with the best janitorial service in the world….Varsity Facility Services. Her life is full and busy!

Since starting with Varsity Facility Services in January 2013, doing Regional Business Development for Texas and Arizona, Dannette has already had great success. With her medical background, she was instrumental in obtaining the DaVita Dialysis business (63 locations in Houston); and Mountain Park Health Centers (4 locations) in Arizona.She also played a key role in bringing Varsity’s industry-leading services to Prosperity Bank (Houston); and most recently, State Farm regional offices in Phoenix. She concentrates on locating Fortune 500 companies, medical facilities, universities and national companies that have multiple locations throughout the country who need the level of service that only Varsity is able to provide. She believes in meeting prospective customers face-to-face, and spends at least 60% of her week “in the field” meeting new people and spreading the good news about Varsity to companies that have never heard of us. Her motto is, “The harder I work, the luckier I get!”

Medical Experience
In addition to working with Varsity, Dannette is currently working in the medical field as a trauma paramedic on the weekends at Dallas Regional Medical Center Emergency Department.She has also been an American Red Cross (Dallas Chapter) volunteer since 2007 and is on two of their teams: their Medical Disaster Team and their Disaster Action Team for fires/floods for which she is the Team Leader.She worked as a MedicOne Medical Response paramedic for 4 years.She has also taught infection control to nurses at the Texas Hospital Association; hasbeen a speaker at TORCH (Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals); and served on the Public Health Board, City of Grand Prairie from 2010-2012.

Facility Experience
As well as her impressive medical experience, Dannette has extensive experience in Facility Management and Janitorial.Before joining Varsity Facility Services, Dannette owned numerous janitorial companies. She has also served as Executive Vice President at AHI Facility Services; and as Director of Medical Treatment Facilities at Aztec Facility Services. She served on the BSCAI Board of Directors from 1955-1998; served on the Proctor & Gamble Advisory Board of Directors from 1995-1998; and was a speaker for Sales & Marketing at the 2002 & 2003 ISSA Conventions.

• University of Texas at Arlington
• Southern Methodist University
• National College of Technical Instruction (Paramedic)
• DCCCD nursing (Phi Theta Kappa)

Other experience and certifications:
• Texas State Paramedic, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians – Paramedic (NREMT-P)
• Infection Preventionist (IP)
• IICRC carpet cleaning
• FEMA disaster paramedic certified
• Wildlands Firefighter
• Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
• CPR instructor
• Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)
• International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services, 16 Springs Fire Department (New Mexico).
• Disaster Action Team Leader – American Red Cross
• Certified Executive Housekeeper (CEH)

Awards / Honors:
• Won Dallas 100, Inc. 1994 for being one of the fastest growing companies in Dallas.
• 1995 Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce Enterprise of the Year winner

Literary Accomplishments:
• Published over 50 articles with SERVICES magazine and CONTRACTING PROFITS
• Former Columnist for Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce, “Who’s Who in Grand Prairie”.

Dannette’s hobbies include playing the classical piano since the age of 3, playing pipe organ, writing hymns and she is currently working on 2 books: From Acne to Estrogen, and Crazy Stories from the ER.

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